Budget Crunch for American Legion
It's a game of numbers, Bingo night at the American Legion, Post One. But there are other numbers floating in the air here, that aren't so fun.
"The overhead continues, regardless of how our cash flow is," said Vietnam veteran Rick Alfaro.
The budget is tight, real tight. Concern has spread about closing.
"Bills, you know, you gotta pay those bills," said Korean war veteran and Post Commander Jim Baker. He has been a member for 62 years.
"When I joined here it was all WWI guys mostly, you know?" he said.
It's the oldest post in the state and arguably, because other states will argue, it's the oldest in the country.
"A lot of them claim they're the oldest, but we know we're the oldest," he laughed.
So how did finances get in a bind?
"Because of the weather we had to cut our bingo down, and cancel our steak nights, and our club lacked participation, so our cash flow took a sever hit," said Alfaro.
Even so, as you can clearly tell by the history on the walls, this is a proud group.
"We don't really tout our own horn," "said Alfaro.
But if there was ever a time, this is it.
"Everybody here just takes care of me really good," said long time bingo player Sandy Shoun, participating in one of the several community events that welcome non-vets with open arms.
"Everybody in the community comes, it's just not people that belong to here, because I don't belong here. My husband was never a veteran, but we come here," she said.
And then of course, there's the obvious.
"We're here to help the veterans," said Baker.
Whether its with filing paperwork for benefits or helping fight hunger...
"We have a food pantry," he said.
The post fills a void as only the post can.
"Most veterans if you talk to them they will tell you they feel more comfortable in the company of veterans," said Alfaro.
They epitomize American pride, which makes the thought of this place closing shameful. And while they may be old soldiers with their backs against the wall, they have no plans to fade away.
"This was built in 1927 and it hadn't closed yet, and we don't intend to close," said Baker.
A fundraiser will take place on Sunday, January 26th at 1:30. There will be a lunch along with a silent auction and music. Everyone is welcome. American Legion Post One is located at 1120 E. 8th St, Tulsa, Ok 74120 or call 918-584-4274.